The Outline: The fascinating face in ‘My Brilliant Friend’

An appreciation of Michele Solara, resident neighborhood bastard.

On the Outline

Jeremy Gordon – Dec 4, 2018

My Brilliant Friend, the acclaimed Elena Ferrante novel and recently released HBO show, centers around Elena “Lenu” Greco and Raffaela “Lila” Cerullo, two best friends growing up in Naples, and the people in their neighborhood. The adaptation is not quite as good as the books, because the interior lives of memorable literary characters are never so easily reproduced for the camera. But the show is charming, and enjoyable, because it effectively mimics dusty mid-century Naples; because it faithfully recreates the plot and characters of Ferrante’s first novel; because that plot and those characters are so compelling that to watch the action play out on screen is nearly as good as watching it play out on the page, even if you miss Elena’s monologues.

The eight episode miniseries isn’t yet finished, so I’ll reserve judgment for the finished product. I do want to talk about one element, though: The teenaged Michele Solara, as portrayed by Alessio Gallo.

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